UKPN battery energy storage facility connects to network

One of the biggest battery energy storage facilities in the UK has been connected to the electricity network in Burgess Hill to support renewable energy.

UK Power Networks recently connected the new battery plant to the distribution network for the site’s developers, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV), part of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy, and Harmony Energy.

The system of 28 Tesla Megapack lithium-ion batteries, covering about the same size as a football pitch, can store renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, when electricity demand is low and release it to the network when demand is high, supporting the renewable energy mix.

The system can flexibly store and release up to 34 megawatts of energy, capable of serving the equivalent of thousands of homes, to smooth out the intermittency of renewable energy.

Harmony Energy and FRV will have the capability to store energy and increase flexibility of the national transmission system.

Peter Kavanagh, chief executive of Harmony Energy, said: “Energy storage plants are vital as we increase our use of renewable energy such as wind and solar energy. The more storage we have, the more intermittent generation from wind and solar we can enable. Batteries are therefore key in enabling net zero by 2050.

“For Harmony, this is the latest step in our continued growth as we play our role in supporting the UK’s future energy security. We have around 600MW of battery energy storage projects construction-ready and will continue to work with investors to help bring those to reality without subsidies.”

David Menéndez, head of FRV-X, said: “The start-up of Contego plant holds enormous significance for FRV, as it brings us closer to our goal of expanding our portfolio of energy storage projects internationally. It is the second one we have operating in the United Kingdom, while we have another one under construction in Australia.

“In doing so, we are also making a significant contribution to the evolution towards a more sustainable energy model in the country, one of our strategic objectives as a company.”

UK Power Networks connected the site to a local electricity substation via a new 1.4km underground cable that involved a 70-metre directional drill to overcome a special engineering challenge.

The company’s switchroom was modified to accommodate the new 33,000-volt circuit needed to import and export electricity from the electricity storage site. Work to energise the new circuit progressed outside normal working hours to increase network resilience in the local area while engineers turned off part of the network to safely connect the site.

Saadat Hussain, connections project manager at UK Power Networks, said: “The next decade is set to be a transformative time for the electricity sector as we progress towards achieving Net Zero as a country. We look forward to playing a key role in connecting more renewable energy and electricity storage sites like this one to our electricity networks.

“The electrical infrastructure work to provide a new 34-megawatt power connection to the battery plant is now complete and the site can start playing an important role in enabling the low carbon transition.”

The batteries at Burgess Hill use Tesla’s advanced Autobidder AI software for real-time trading and control.

Harmony Energy and FRV have just announced the launch of work on the UK’s biggest battery storage development project at Clay Tye in Essex, which will also be connected to UK Power Networks’ distribution network.

Clay Tye will be nearly three times the capacity of the site in West Sussex at 99 megawatts / 198 megawatt hours and will also support decarbonisation of the energy grid.

Image: Shutterstock

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